The UN’s appeal to assist people in north-east Nigeria is too late to avert a disaster eight years in the making

The rains have arrived in Nigeria since my last visit in March, washing away some of the harmattan dust that previously shrouded the city in a red haze. The country is now in its planting season, with farmers taking advantage of the regular rainfall to sow their seeds. While my colleagues have been celebrating the fact that they can now sleep comfortably in cooler temperatures, Nigeria has entered it’s lean season; belts are tightened to bridge the gap between last year’s produce running out, and this year’s crops being ready to harvest.

On my first day back in Abuja in April, a friend and fellow aid worker attended a meeting of UN agencies and other humanitarian organisations called in light of the emergency – and likely famine – that was looming in the north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe.

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